An Ohio State graduate wears her decorated cap during Autumn Commencement 2015. Credit: Lantern file photo

Ohio State announced Thursday it will begin requiring tickets for Autumn Commencement, citing a growing number of students applying for December graduation.

The new policy will be applied to all future Autumn Commencements, beginning with this fall’s on Dec. 17.

Graduating students must make an online reservation to receive commencement tickets. All students who apply to graduate by Nov. 27 will be granted four tickets, with the option to apply for four additional tickets. All tickets will be free, and there will not be assigned seats; it will be first-come, first-served.

Graduates are not required to have a ticket.

“Over several years the size of all of the graduating classes has increased and this is an issue for Autumn Commencement particularly because it is inside so seating is more limited,” university spokesman Ben Johnson said.

Deadlines for December graduation vary across colleges, but, in an email to graduation-eligible students, the university encouraged students to apply by Nov. 1.

Students who have applied to graduate will receive an email in November with information on how to reserve at least their four guaranteed tickets.

Johnson said there isn’t necessarily a deadline to request additional tickets, but said the university will begin allotting remaining seats to those on the waitlist on Dec. 4.

Last year, there were 3,664 autumn graduates. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, there were 3,226, 3,310 and 3,305, respectively.

The Schottenstein Center can seat 19,500 for basketball games and more than 20,000 for concerts, according to its website.

Johnson said the university has taken a number of other steps to increase capacity inside the Schott during the ceremony, including using a smaller commencement platform, relocating that platform to make room for more floor seating and opening all available seating sections.  

“All of that is in response to the fact that each year the size of the class and subsequently the size of the total audience gets larger,” Johnson said.

While the new ticket policy was announced two months from commencement, Johnson said the university will continue to share reminders about the requirement so it is “a smooth and seamless process.”

“The only goal here is that people know ahead of the deadline and have plenty of time to understand the system and make their ticket requests after consulting with their family and taking whatever step they need,” Johnson said.

There are no plans to begin requiring tickets for Spring Commencement, Johnson said.